This is a personal challenge for myself as my natural instinct is to sit with a film long after watching and meditate on it. I blame much of my over analyses on my college training. But here, I attempt to blend overly nerdy, academicky prose with reactionary, informal wit to create my own cohesive statement on five "classic American horror films ranging from the 60s to the 80s" because these films are "a monumentally important touchstone in horror history". Here goes something.
"We all go a little mad sometimes..."
If there's one subject/topic that pierces my inward struggle and actually scares me, it's the perpetual feeling of loneliness. Something about Norman tugs at that insecurity within myself. Will I be driven to homicidal madness by it? Probably not. However, what is revealed about his story adds a very broad emotional element that I feel has made him such an iconic figure.
|Me on most days.|
- Themes: escapism, feeling trapped, isolation
- I love that Busta Rhymes thought the main score was compatible for an update on one of his tracks.
- I see how where Jamie Lee Curtis gets her sex appeal. Janet was quite alluring.
- Swamps are awesome for hiding evidence of a crime!
Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
*the sound of Ben's fist hitting Harry's face*
I've done my share of research on Living Dead because of its significance with racial representation not just in horror, but film history as a whole. It's an important film for so many reasons, but Ben (Duane Jones) really put Black behinds in movie seats and consistently. His character was the 'hope', or, more so fantasy in a sense of my elders in the universe Romero and his crew created.
- Themes: survival, leadership, regret
- John reminds me so much of my youngest brother. I wanna slug them both!
- I wish Duane Jones was still around to give talks about his role. But we do at least have this.
- The score is something special.
The Exorcist (1973)
"What an excellent day for an exorcism."
I've thought a lot about The Exorcist over the years. It's sadness and rage has fascinated me, and I've linked the root of the turmoil generated from the characters to the 70s Women's Liberation Movement. The Exorcist does not say that equality and fairness for women is "evil", that's absurd. But the fantastical ideas, that "superwoman" myth I've argued is kind of a dangerous falsehood. And everything Regan's mother juggled, especially her angst (her feelings about Regan's father, etc.), festered inside of her fragile teenage daughter and became what we saw.
|Me when I'm sick|
- Themes: crisis of faith (both religious and non-religious), guilt, science vs. antiquity
- Father Merrin always looked like he needed a hug. His work was way too stressful.
- The devil is like, super awesome at making you believe a lie to be truth.
- I very much enjoyed Story B about Father Karras.
- Was Regan's father some sort of a 'rock star'? I never noticed that until now!
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973)
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."
I took a class about family in grad school. My instructor had little to no liberal arts training and it showed, because we spent 80% of our time watching films to get a grasp on what is/makes a family. Only as a cinephile that is
|I like non-traditional family portraits.|
- Themes: family, armageddon (like, for real...)
- You can actually feel the filth in the heat in the interiors which makes TCM that much more horrifying. At least for a germaphobe.
- Knowing much of the backstory to everything that went down during filming kinda enhances the film as a whole for me.
- I didn't realize how annoying Franklin really was until now!
The Thing (1982)
"Yeah ...fuck you too!"
What was great to really dig in and discover with my billionth watch of this masterpiece is the detailed quirks and perfect pacing of what amalgamates into one big mystery. John Carpenter is known for being political in his work, and The Thing sits high on that shelf. It wants you to settle in in its unbearable discomfort of being so far from what you've known, you lose yourself. This is one of those films not built on happy accidents. It has a distinct desire for its audience. It craves your sense of security than wants it to implode.
|What you do when your friends turn on you.|
The characters were already on edge before the action begins. Each seeming fed up with the station and each other. And because of that intimacy, The Thing transcends just entertainment and you find at least one character that helps makes you feel how cold it is outside and that inevitable dread of infection. To this day, I still have to mute and avert through the dog scene.
- Themes: isolation, paranoia
- The dogs always gets to me.
- I wondered what it would be like to have an all-female cast. This should happen instead of that Ghostbusters one. But with like, Ava Duvernay directing.
- If I was on a camp site in Antarctica, I'd smoke a lot of weed too.
Thanks JD for this fun ride! Much love...